Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 11

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 11

And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth." Revelation 5:10 NLT

Observation
As Christian men, we are not just fathers, we are a Kingdom of priests for our God. We are empowered and anointed to reign on the earth for Jesus Christ. Our role as fathers carries a weight and an honor that stretches beyond the natural into the eternal.

Application
So how do you live this out in your daily life. It begins by realizing that God has given you everything that you need to lead your family, naturally and spiritually. It means that you are not alone; you are a part of a Kingdom, a brotherhood of men that surround you and support you. Tap into the kingdom and allow your brothers to speak into your life. It means that you can step out in faith to lead your family, even when you feel inadequate, because God has anointed you to reign. Be courageous when you know it’s the right thing, just do it and trust God to fill in the gaps.

Prayer
Father, thank You for calling me out of the darkness into Your glorious light. Help me to walk in the revelation that I am anointed to reign and lead my family as a priest of the Lord. Give boldness and courage to step out in faith and the humility to stay connected to my brothers. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Pastor Keith Hodges
Liberty Church

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 10

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 10

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Observation
Here is the prayer of a son asking his father to “make me know the way I should go.” Every child longs for a father to show him or her the way. This is the biblical pattern: The Father sets the direction by orienting the child. Have you ever heard the words “Daddy, where are we going?” Of course you have. Do you know why this is so? Because you are God’s chosen compass for your children early on in life.

Application
As a father, you are called to set the direction your kids should go by giving them orientation. This is the track set early on in life that will determine their destination. Orientation determines direction and direction determines destination. You will show them how a man seeks God, how a man treats a woman, how a man cares and provides for his family, and how a man shows every day the way his kids should go.

Prayer
Lord, show me the way I should go that I may show my kids and those around me the way to You. Amen!

Pastor Frank Rondon
Sion Iglesias

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 9

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 9

Read Hebrews 12:7-11; Matthew 25:14-29; 2 Chronicles 16:9

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT

Observation
Our son Caleb came into the house and handed us his report card. His head was down, his face showing nothing but dejection.  Caleb was in second grade, and academics hadn’t been a smooth ride for him, and that face had me expecting the worst. Opening the report card I found two A’s, two B’s and a C. This was a great report card! Turning to him I raved about the report and gave him high fives and danced him around the kitchen. Seeing him still looking dejected, I asked, “What are you sad about?  This is great!” Caleb looked up sheepishly and said, “Now that I got these grades, you’re going to expect this all the time.” The truth is, Caleb was absolutely right. Now that he proved to himself and the world that he was capable, expectations went up. The problem was, in his young mind he thought higher expectations were a burden to carry. An unnecessary weight to carry around.   Many men in God’s house live under the same false pretense.  Most of us have a default setting in our minds that says, “More responsibility is a burden! I’m too busy already! The expectations are too high!” This leads to the majority of men being great servants (when it’s convenient) who shun inconvenient or challenging positions. Nothing against great servants, we can use 100 more of them, but, how many men remain in that “serving when it’s convenient” role because they don’t want to put the time and energy necessary to take more responsibility that they are very capable of accepting?

Application
God does have expectations of you, but they are not a burden!  Like any father with a son, He desires to stretch you so you can reach your full potential! I knew what was in Caleb. I knew he had the ability to succeed in school. I didn’t chide him to be better to make his life harder, I pushed him because I knew meeting those higher expectations would make him stronger and more confident! God’s heart is the same toward you. He sees your potential! He wants nothing but the best for you. Therefore, He pushes you. When I know God’s heart, I don’t hide from inconvenient or challenging expectations, I run after them. Seeing them for what they truly are…..God’s way of building me up, making me stronger and blessing me with a satisfying life.

Prayer
Lord, I’m reminded that You are a Father who has high expectations of me. Help me see that those expectations are not a burden to hold me down from enjoying life, but that those expectations are an on ramp to put me in life’s fast lane. Search my heart, Lord.  Reveal to me where I’m holding back from embracing Your greater call on my life. Never allow me to forget that You are a good, good Father.

Pastor Gary Paladin, Accountability Team
Hosanna Church

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 8

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 8

The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.  Genesis 22:3-5,8 NLT

Observation
Abraham demonstrated faith. He obeyed God. Told the servant he and the lad would return. Told Isaac God would provide. While faith is personal it was never designed to be private. Faith is spoken not just thought. Abraham is the Father of our Faith not our attitude. A father lives out and speaks out faith, especially in adverse and challenging circumstances.

Application
Faith is the greatest treasure we can give. Demonstrate it, model it, get them to join in the faith fight. Real men don't run from a faith fight! They don't depend on themselves and just tough it out, they walk it out. They point it out, and call it out. The shield of faith is to go forward with no retreat.

Prayer
Lord, help me to see life’s challenges and even crisis, as an opportunity to model faith. Let it be clear through my actions. That obeying You is a joy. Trusting You is a privilege. And depending on You an honor.

Pastor Keith Tucci, Accountability Team
Network of Related Pastors

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 7

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 7

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21 KJV See also Revelation 20:12

Observation
Here we see Jesus pointing out a kingdom principle. Let’s focus on that very important word, “done.” Other places in the Scripture point out this principle as well. James 1:22 is a good example. It tells us that if we only listen to the word, but do nothing, we are deceiving ourselves. On the day we stand in judgement before the Lord there will be no commendation for good listening, good talking, good discussion, good thinking, etc. There is a joy that we will never experience unless we actually become doers of what He tells us to do.

Application
I have to ask myself, “What things has Jesus said that I am actually doing, and what things am I not doing?” It is easy to think of a few things that I am doing, hence justifying myself. Most of those things are the ones that are not a real challenge to me. How about some of the challenging things that take me out of my comfort zone? Can I open a conversation with a complete stranger and tell them about the kingdom? I’m not talking about a methodology here, but about letting the life of the King who lives in me just flow out and touch another’s life. Can I boldly pray for someone in the grocery store? Can I cast out demons when I am in the bank? We have been given His authority and instructions to do such things and many more. He said to do these things “...as you go...”

Prayer
Lord, I don’t want to be just a talker or thinker, I want to become a living example of a doer of Your word. I want to hear You say to me on judgment day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to experience that joy that You offer to the doers of Your word. I ask that You do whatever it takes, that You put me in places and provoke me by Your Holy Spirit to live this out in such a way that in the doing of it, it will become part of who I am in You.

Brother David Hawkes

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 6

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 6

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT

Observation
I love this verse for a couple of reasons. First, it is a display of God’s merciful character and His love for us. And second, it shows us that grace is something that cannot be earned. Grace is God’s gift to us because of His love. We were once dead because of our disobedience and many sins but God has given us life through His son. This is exciting news! It also says that He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things He planned for us. It is so awesome to know that we are God’s masterpiece and that He has a plan for each and every one of us.

Application
I believe that this is a verse that should invoke gratitude and thankfulness. When we realize what the cross has accomplished and what we have been saved from the proper response should be to thank God for all He has done. God has created us anew so that we can do the good things he planned for us. Ask yourself today how God’s grace has changed you. Are you keeping this gift to yourself or are you sharing God’s grace with others? What good things are you doing now as a result of your new Christ centered identity?

Prayer
Thank You, Lord, for Your merciful and gracious Spirit! Thank You for Your unending love that changes me. I pray that You would use me to do the good things You have planned. I pray that You would help me show grace to others because of what You’ve done for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Kat Rouse, Connect Students Leader
North Braddock Campus

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 5

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 5

Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come. Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the LORD’S purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). Proverbs 19:20-21 AMP

Observation
As you venture out into college, no matter where you go; find a good group of friends who know Christ who can get you through the tough times in a Godly way. Being with friends who don’t know God, yes, they can help, but they don’t bring you back to what Christ wants. We go through life, and once we hit college, we become adults and want to do things on our own. When we are 17-18 we want to make our own decisions, but as soon as it comes time to do everything on your own, we should still want input from our parents, our leaders we had and have, and to stay connected with the church. We might not agree with what professors say, but we still have to be respectful.

Application
As Pastor Rick says, “We are supposed to live in this world, but not of it.” College will challenge who you are, what you believe, and why you believe what you believe. But Christ will guide you in the way you are supposed to live. Seek out His plan every day, do not push Him out of the way because you want to be an adult and do it your way. God has a plan for everything, you just have to trust him; especially in those times that might be hard. He knows what you will face, but you have to tell yourself now, that you won’t let the little things get to you, you won’t become of this world, and that you will live according to His plan. Have fun in college though, and stay strong in Who’s You are, I mean you made it this far!

Prayer
God, give me guidance for today. Show me the way You want me to live. Today is a new day, and I thank You for it!

Lexi Paladin, Connect Students Leader
Murrysville Campus

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 4

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Uncommon Sense Devotional: Day 4

This is what the Lord says "You will be in Babylon for seventy years,  but then I come and do for you all the good things I have promised and I will bring you home again. "For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord "They are plans for good not for disaster, to give you hope and a future." In those days you will pray and I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me. "I will be found by you" says the Lord.  "I will end your captivity and restore your fortune and gather you out of the nations where I sent you and I will bring you home again to your own land." Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV

Observation
In life there will be so many difficult days and things that will happen, some more difficult than others. You will question your faith, you will doubt. You will question God and what He is doing. You will ask yourself "What does God want from me?" or "God, what do you want from me?"  It will feel like your life is in a chaotic whirlwind and that your life is falling apart. You will feel stuck. All those questions and feelings are normal. Don't worry you wont be there long, remember who holds your tomorrows. God can and will bring you out of that place. Remember His promise. Be faithful and true even in hardships because even in the hardest of times we need to accept His discipline when we are disobedient and hold onto faith. Whatever God is doing in your life, He knows what He is doing. He makes it very clear that His intention is not for harm but for spiritual growth and to give us a future. His ultimate desire is to bless His people. Trust His plans and His timing, because He is trying to bring you back to your senses and back to where He wants you or needs you to be.

Application
Seek God with a sincere, serious heart, not half-heartedly. Seek a relationship with Him. He is the God when you are on the mountain and your God when you are in the valley. He is not intimidated by messy situations or messy people. So no matter where you find yourself now or down the road, God knows your deepest struggles. So keep your heart and your mind focused on the Kingdom (2 Tim. 2:22). Flee from the evil of your youth and pursue righteousness, faith, peace, and love, along with those who call on the Lord out of pure hearts. (Continue reading to verse 26 in your Bible)

Prayer
Thank You, God, that You bring us out from wherever we were into a new place, with new promises, as new people. Thank You, God, for strength in struggles, peace in chaos, promises of love in a broken world and because You have overcome the world, we too are overcomers. Please help us to consistently seek You, for when we do there is nothing You will not do for those who are faithful.

Stephanie Creed, Connect Students Leader
White Oak Campus

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 3

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 3

Read 1 Timothy 4:1-15

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT  

Observation
This letter was written by Paul to help Timothy understand how to run a church that was being attacked by false doctrine.  Paul first stressed the importance of regularly training in God's Word.  Then Paul encouraged Timothy to focus on living out God's Word versus letting his youth or other challenges discourage him from leading people to Jesus.

Application
It is important that we also train ourselves to be godly (vs 7) because our faith will always be threatened whether we are going away to college, work, or even the grocery store.  Sometimes, we need a little bit of encouragement to grow in and live out God's Word because the world tells us sometimes that we don't know enough or maybe that we are too young etc.  Let this be encouraging to you; God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life!  We ALL get to have a real, life-giving relationship with Jesus!  Therefore, our age, grades, level of intelligence, race, or annual income is irrelevant; God encourages us to grow in faith and live out His Word because we ALL matter to Him!

Prayer
Lord, thank You for sending Jesus as a real-life example of how You want us to live.  I praise Your great name for the deposit of Your Holy Spirit who guides and fills us with Your Word.  Father, send Your Holy Spirit to each and every person reading this to fill them with a burst of energy from heaven so that they may be excited and motivated to get to know You and Your Word better!  Equip us Lord with power to do what pleases You so that our confidence in You cannot be shaken by the world and encourage us to seek opportunities to glorify Your name. Amen.

Adam Riggle, Connect Students Leader
Murrysville Campus

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 2

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June Teaching Series Devotional: Day 2

1 Corinthians 6:12-18

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT

Observation
I love how the Lord gives us a free will! The choice to live for Him or not. With that being said, He also tell us it is not without consequences. Knowing the difference between a good thing and a God thing is so important. We all know sin is bad but anything you become a slave to is bad. TV, video games, social media all are examples of good things that can be something you can become a slave to.

Application
I was reminded to prioritize the things that matter. “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. I challenge you the next time you say you don't have time, sit down and write out where your time goes. Tell your time time where to go! We must set the standard in life on what’s important and what will push the kingdom forward.

Prayer
Father, I pray as we live our lives for You we would continue to put You first in everything we do! Knowing we are surrounded by good things, I pray we would prioritize the God things and that our lives would be the great representation of who You are.

Matt Carmona, Next Generation Leader + Worship Leader
North Braddock Campus

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